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  1. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    Doing it without an agent

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by deadrats, Jun 16, 2019.

    Would you guys take a publishing deal without getting an agent involved? I'm talking about a well known publisher with tons of books on their roster. Not a startup by any means. And I'm sure they have and do work with agented submissions as well. But if a place like this shows interest in your writing, is it okay to go it alone? I don't know if getting an agent is still a smart move or not. Would love to hear from some of you who may have worked with a smaller or mid-size press with or without an agent. I don't have an agent, but I've heard it's not too hard to get one if you've already got a book deal on the table. This is a bit hypothetical but not completely. I sort of rather go without an agent if I end up working with this publisher, but I honestly don't know if that's the smartest thing to do.
     
  2. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    I would get an agent. It’s an agent’s job, as I understand it, to know all the nuances that I’m absolutely not going to know.
     
  3. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    My agent has been useful not only in finding publishers and negotiating contracts for things I've written, but also for general career-steering advice and for actually bringing writing opportunities my way. So I think there's real value in having an agent.

    And I, like you, have heard that it's not too difficult to get an agent once you've got a deal on the table, provided that the deal comes with a reasonable advance (maybe $7 500 or up?). A smaller publisher may not offer that sort of advance, in which case it may be more difficult to get an agent's interest...

    ETA: I have an agent, but she doesn't handle my small-press m/m novels - the deals aren't big enough for her to bother. So that's an option as well - having an agent who handles SOME of your work, but not all of it.
     
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  4. Lifeline

    Lifeline Going South. Supporter Contributor

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    I haven't got a book deal nor the prospects of one, nor an agent. But in my darker moments (procrastinating) I've browsed the web, and I remember there was a site where they talked about clauses and legal statements in contracts—offered by agents—that effectively tie the author to the publisher/agent for a specific time with regard to pretty sweeping themes/genres that have to do with the book they are buying. They said that authors ought to judge themselves which clauses to accept and that it'd be best to get legal advice, a lawyer specialising in copyright/publishing law.

    To me this advice makes sense. I as a layman don't know enough to judge if an agent would be representing me well and if I'm signing a contract for whatever, I want to be sure of the content to the best of my knowledge. Then we can talk about signing.
     
  5. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    The contract I signed with my agent was less than a page long, all written in plain English and clearly designed to clarify the nature of the relationship, not trap anyone in anything. I mean, obviously everyone should carefully read every contract they sign and not sign something they aren't comfortable with, but reputable agents don't have predatory contracts.

    And if any agents are offering their clients contracts that tie the clients to specific publishers, that's a definite red flag. The agent should be on Team Writer, not Team Publisher. Anything that seems to blur those relationships is worrisome. But I don't think I know anyone first hand who's seen a contract like that...
     
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  6. big soft moose

    big soft moose The Moderating Moose Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    Didn't @Laurin Kelly say in a discussion like that that she'd signed with LT3 without an agent ?
     
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  7. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    I expect so. They're a small publisher, and I doubt they'd offer advances at a level that would attract most agents.
     
  8. Laurin Kelly

    Laurin Kelly Contributor Contributor

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    That is correct - LT3 offers no advance at all, just royalties after publication.

    It works well for me though, as I'm in no way looking to make a career, living or even a significant income from writing. I make a little side money, but mostly I just want to get my books out in front of people who will enjoy reading them, with minimal administrative effort on my part. So far, so good!
     
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  9. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    Thanks for the responses. I think a big part of the agent's job is to find you a publisher so if I have found one on my own, I just wonder if it's worth giving up whatever an agent's cut is these days. What is it like 20 percent? And maybe this would be too small scale for an agent to have interest. It's not happening right away, but it is something that has been mentioned. Nothing official and nothing I would consider an offer. The other thing is that I want to work with this publisher. I worry an agent might want to shop a book around, but that's not what I really want to do with this book. I have familiarity with publishing contracts when it comes to selling short stories. I guess I would have to do some more research on what a fair book deal should look like. But I don't expect this to be any sort of big money maker, and I'm okay with that. And because of that I'm not sure how much sense it would make to bring an agent onboard. I also don't know if there would be any sort of advance, but if there is, I would expect it to be small. I am sort of guessing when it comes to all this. For this one, it might be best to go it alone. Truthfully, I don't think there is anything I would turn down, especially since this is a place a really want to work with. I'm not in a position to hire a lawyer or anything. But this is just one book, my first book. Even having informal interest is pretty exciting. I'm probably getting ahead of myself a little with this, but I know many of you know more about this sort of thing than I do. I just don't like the idea of bringing on an agent to do very little and taking a big cut despite that. I sort of had an agent in the past for a book that never sold.
     

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